We Believe In ESEA Book Fairies.
Celebrating East and Southeast Asian Heritage Month 2023
September marks the third annual celebration of the UK’s East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) Heritage Month and we are thrilled to be launching We Believe In ESEA Book Fairies. An initiative inspired by a worldwide movement of “Book Fairies” who hide books across the community for people to find in public spaces, we wanted to do the same with the added purpose of helping to advocate for more positive ESEA representation in children’s literature.
14 ESEA Book Fairies with over 100 books to hide
With over 150 books to hide around our local communities throughout the month of September, we are proud to be partnering with 15 ESEA Book Fairies who are excited to be spreading the love of books written by authors of East and Southeast Asian heritage.
See if you can spot them around the streets of London and Manchester as they hide books while leaving clues on their social channels for young readers to discover.
Places include: The British Library, The British Museum, Buckingham Palace, Covent Garden, Chinatown London, Kensington, Hammersmith, Hackney, Holland Park, Lime Street, Pimlico, Putney, Kingston, New Malden, Tower Hamlets, Wimbledon and Piccadilly in Manchester.
Help drive change to see more ESEA representation in Kidlit books
If you happen to be lucky to have found a book, we would love your help to spread the work of ESEA authors and creators. Simply take a picture of the free book that you have found. Post on Instagram or Facebook for your friends and family to see what the ESEA Book Fairy has gifted you!
Don't forget to add hashtag #ESEAbookfairies so we can let the community know too!
Collaborating with community partners for greater impact
We are grateful for the support of policy leaders, members of grass root organisations, social influencers publishers, authors and illustrators that are active in the ESEA space. Every individual’s work has helped to add valuable insight to this initiative ensuring that we create opportunities for a fairer representation across the ESEA communities as possible.
Besea.n: British East and Southeast Asian Network. A volunteer-led group that aims to fuel positive representation for ESEA people, with the goal of getting it recognised by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Book Fairies: The Book Fairies launched in March 2017, and they are very excited to be supporting our initiative. They have been sharing books worldwide and currently have almost 16,000 people sharing books in over 100 countries!
Knights Of Media: a multi-award-winning inclusive publisher, focused on bringing underrepresented voices to the forefront of commercial children’s publishing. From illustrated young fiction to Young Adult, they publish entertaining and imaginative fiction for ages 5-15.
The Campaign Against Racism Group was formed in early 2020 in response to racism and hate crimes against East and Southeast people in the UK. Since then, CARG has responded to policy consultations from the UK Government and continues to advocate for change in the Criminal Justice System and in Education, as well as the impact of racism on Mental Health.
ESEA Book Fairies was presented to you by
De Ziremi and Fish Tales & Rhymes
We are two young, passionate UK-based startups in the world of book selling and publishing who are keen to provide books and educational games for families looking to raise their children to become bilingual and connect them with their heritage culture. We also wanted to share with our communities just how many beautifully written stories are being told by individuals with an ESEA heritage. Sadly, many are often underrepresented in the mainstream.
Angelina is the founder of Fish Tales & Rhymes. She created a series of bilingual musical board books that cultivate the love of learning Chinese through singing nursery rhymes in Mandarin. Her two little boys were her source of inspiration. She realized there was a way to tap into their love for music and dance all while learning Chinese through catchy songs: ones that could also take her back to her own childhood.
“As a parent, it's exciting when you discover sought after bilingual books created for non-native Mandarin speaking families in bookshops. Imagine the sparkle in the eyes of your child when they discover a book that an ESEA Book Fairy has magically left them on their way from school one afternoon?"
"I’m thrilled to be working on this project with De Ziremi and with so many other different members of the ESEA Community. The level of interest shows the commitment that individuals have towards wanting greater ESEA representation in children's books. They understand that by working together, we can make a more meaningful impact."
Delicia is the co-founder of De Ziremi, an online bookshop established in 2020 during lockdown.
Set up with her three sisters, the bookshop's name De Ziremi is derived from their names: Delicia, Zipporah, Rebecca and Michal.
Their shop offers a unique selection of children’s books that are written in Chinese and are also available in bilingual formats in Chinese, English and pinyin to support families who are on a journey of raising bilingual children.
"Children today need to know that there are others like them, sharing their language, experiencing similar things. Our bookshop exists only to give them the books for their bilingual journey — a big hug so they always feel supported and seen. There can be no greater reason for us to support the ESEA book fairies."
Come join our ESEA Book Fairies project. Help bring magic into the lives of your little one this September.
Follow us on Instagram for clues to discover your free ESEA book.